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09 March 2020, 14:46

Plans to introduce deposit-refund system for consumer packaging in Belarus need more polish

MINSK, 9 March (BelTA) – The matter of introducing a deposit-refund system for consumer packaging in Belarus requires additional polish. First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dmitry Krutoi made the statement after Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko hosted a conference with top officials of the Council of Ministers on 9 March, BelTA has learned.

During the conference Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that unlike other Eastern Europe countries Belarus has had a chain of outlets for buying recyclable materials since the times of the Soviet Union. “If we expand it or allocate additional funding, increase prices for secondary material resources, we may not have to build something new. In other words, it is necessary to more thoroughly discuss technical and economic aspects,” Dmitry Krutoi said.

The president was informed about the experience of introducing a deposit-refund system for consumer packaging in countries of the European Union. Examples of Norway, Germany, and Lithuania where the system works quite well were quoted. According to Dmitry Krutoi, the head of state generally approved of such a system. At the same time the government was instructed to prepare a detailed brief within several months on how the existing system for buying recyclable materials works, what it lacks to get better, and why the number of its outlets remains limited. “The existing system may need tweaking before we introduce a deposit-refund model,” Dmitry Krutoi noted.

BelTA reported earlier that the government suggested introducing a deposit-refund system for consumer containers for water and beverages in 2022. However, the head of state believes that such a system was already implemented back in the Soviet Union. “And all the experts, including the presidential administration, are in favor of the suggestion. How odd,” the head of state was indignant. As an example he referred to Switzerland where very many products are made out of recyclable materials. “Why can't we do the same? We live in a compact country – nothing like Russia – why can't we collect waste and recycle it? Making glass the traditional way is much more expensive than smelting a bottle anew,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked. “But no, we keep waiting like in the oil situation until things fall apart. Then we heroically start looking for alternatives, making deals, and so on. We can't even pick up money that's lying around.”

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